Aretha Franklin is dear to most of us in Michigan not just because she is a great singer along with other Motown Music elites, but she was born here and has been residing in Detroit for quite some time. She never left a city that isn't as glamorous as Hollywood which would have been easy for her to do. I think that is pretty cool. Many have abandoned Motown but she was one who remained. All we had left was her, The Motown Museum and several of Barry Gordy's homes to remind us of what once was. Her funeral service will be held here and Aretha will be buried here in Michigan. For this, I have much respect for Aretha but also much more:
Titled the "Queen of Soul" in the 1960s, Aretha is most known for her songs like Respect, Chain of Fools, A Natural Woman, Spanish Harlem, A Rose is Still A Rose, Freeway of Love and many others. She is known for having recorded 112 charted singles that landed on the Billboard, including 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and 20 number one R&B singles. She is known as the most charted female singer, the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and sold a told of 75 million records across the world. In addition, she holds many honoarary degrees and was awarded The Presidential Freedom Award in 2005.
Aretha is not only a role model for black women but women in general. This is probably most important of all. There is no voice subjected more than women like black women except for perhaps transgendered women and men. Aretha opened the doors and blazed a path for many black female artists to come. We know that it is no easy road in many organizations dominated by the 'good ole' boy' clubs. So, most of us won't know the ins and outs of a soul that stood against flames we could doubtful endure and produce such uplifting music as she did. We may imagine the joys of a successful singer like her, but rarely do we think about the pain that produced such sounds. This woman was one of great achievement on the world stage that affected many lives with her music, and what she represented and did for women of color.
What is your favorite Aretha memory? Please post in the comments below.